Gilbert Sisters in Big Hats
This 1909 photo of Gilbert sisters in big hats came to mind when considering a Millinery illustration for a future post about York County’s first female airplane passenger Edith M. Hitchcott; a second generation Milliner in York. A Milliner is a creator and dealer in women’s hats.
In our family this Gilbert Sisters picture is known at the “Big Hats Photo.” These Gilbert Sisters are three of my Great-Aunts; i.e. they are the sisters of my Grandmother Iva Gilbert Smith. Clockwise from top left are: Lula B. Gilbert, Norma G. Gilbert, Hettie Gilbert Spangler and young Richard S. Spangler.
Introduction to Hitchcott’s Millinery
Mrs. Lucy Mowbray Hitchcott, the mother of Edith M. Hitchcott, established a Millinery business at 200 West Market Street in York during 1891. That location is at the southwest corner of West Market Street and today’s South Pershing Avenue; i.e. directly across Market Street from today’s Colonial Court House.
Mrs. Hitchcott previously worked at a Millinery in Baltimore, after having immigrated from England in 1888. All three of Mrs. Hitchcott’s daughters become Milliners and worked at her shop. In 1897, Mrs. Hitchcott moved her business to the first block of West Market Street. Her shop at 30 West Market Street was the storefront adjoining the west side of Trinity Church.
In 1903, Hitchcott’s Millinery moved the business the final time to 56 West Market Street. That location is the second storefront east of the southeast corner of West Market Street and South Beaver Street. In 1911, Mrs. Hitchcott retired and turned over operation of her store to daughters Edith and Agnes Hitchcott. Possibly Hitchcott’s Millinery is where the Gilbert Sister’s purchased their big hats.
Edith Hitchcott married Harold Theall prior to her 1914 airplane ride in Dover Township. Edith has an interesting story as York County’s first female airplane passenger. I have attempted to contact one of her descendants to fill in a few minor details and possibly gain access to a photo; since a photographer was known to be present for the 1914 flights at Hilton Field. You can expect to see the post on Edith Theall shortly.
Additional Gilbert Family Photos
The back of the “Big Hats Photo” is printed for use as a postcard. There is no photographer imprint on the card, however it is assumed the photo was taken in York, PA, since the sisters were living there in 1909. Shirley Keeports is a granddaughter of Minerva, another sister of Lula, Norma and Hettie. Shirley shared her postcard of the “Big Hats Photo” for inclusion in the “York Then and Now” book of images published in 1999, as part of the 250th Anniversary Celebration of York County; the photo appears on page 28.
One of the several books that I have underway deals with the “Descendants of Johannes Gilbert [1772-1846] of York County, PA.” The Library of the York County History Center contains an indexed copy of 820-pages of my notes for this book. It has been placed there for the public to provide additions, corrections and/or comments; while I continue with additional research.
I also continue to gather photographs for the Gilbert Book. Shirley Keeports challenged me to pull an image out of the following much faded Gilbert family photo; containing the names of the Family of Mr. & Mrs. John D. Gilbert written on the back.
By repeatedly tweaking contrast and brightness I was able pull out the following image. Knowing the youngest child, Bertha Gilbert, was born in 1895, and that she appears to be about four years old in the picture, the photo is circa 1899. The Gilbert sisters from the “Big Hats Photo,” sit in the front row.
In 1899, the ages of the parents and ten children in the Family of Mr. & Mrs. John D. Gilbert are:
- John David Gilbert – age 50 – 2nd row, right side
- Lizzie Hoke Gilbert – age 48 – 2nd row, left side
- George T. Gilbert – age 25 – back row, center
- H. Claud Gilbert – age 24 – back row, right
- Minerva R. Gilbert – age 22 – 3rd row, center
- Iva M. Gilbert – age 19 – 3rd row, left
- Virginia B. Gilbert – age 17 – 3rd row, right
- Blaine H. Gilbert – age 15 – back row, left
- Lula B. Gilbert – age 13 – front row, left
- C. Hettie Gilbert – age 10 – front row, right
- Norma G. Gilbert – age 9 – front row, center
- Bertha K. Gilbert – age 4 – 2nd row, center
John David Gilbert [1849-1933] was involved with the burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge during the Civil War; check out this link for details. Further details on John’s grandfather John D. (Johannes) Gilbert [1772-1846] are provided on at this link. Iva and Minerva Gilbert appear in an 1896 Photo of Edward J. Sitler Cigar Factory Employees in East Prospect, York County, PA, at this link.
Links to related Gilbert Family posts:
- A Personal Connection to the Burning of The Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge 150-Years-Ago
- John Gilbert Family Part 1; from 1772 in Eastern York County
- John Gilbert Family Part 2; Canadochly Church
- 1896 Photo of Edward J. Sitler Cigar Factory Employees in East Prospect, York County, PA
- The tale of Gilbert Bridge over Yellow Breeches Creek
Links to related posts concerning initial York County airplane passengers:Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts